Every single week, one of my clients asks me for feedback on his written blog and newsletter content.
In response to his emails, I wrote a list of 10 tips that he could use as a checklist each time he sits down to write. When I sent him my suggestions, he responded, “This is great! It would be so helpful if you had a one-pager with all your writing tips that I could refer to each week…”
A light bulb went off. We could all benefit from an easy-to-use list. And here we are.
A Checklist For Better Content Writing:
If you’ve been trying to create better content, upgrade your writing and create headlines that people actually want to click on, here are 10 of my best writing tips:
1. Pick topics and write titles your clients care about.
In most cases, your headlines and blog titles should be what your customer is looking for when they search it in Google. Clever is great, but clever only works for people who know you. You are writing for strangers. And strangers are looking for literal answers to the problems they have.
Have trouble finding topics? Listen to the questions people ask you. Think about what questions the content you write will answer. For example, my SEO team member recently said to me, “Lisa, your strength is strategy but you never talk about strategy in your blogs. You should do more of that.”
This was a “duh!” moment for me. She was 100% right but I am so close to what I write, that I didn’t consider it.Clever is great, but clever only works for people who know you. You are #writing for strangers. And strangers are looking for answers to the #problems they have. Check out the other writing #tips here. Click To Tweet
2. Know your character limits: 32 and 64.
These numbers matter. A newsletter subject line should be less than 32 characters in length so it doesn’t get cut off when viewing on a mobile device. For a blog, a longer title is fine, but keep this limit in mind when sharing your content on other platforms (like Facebook). Your email subject line does not need to match your blog title (but it can if you think it’s “click-worthy”)
When writing a newsletter, the first 64 characters people preview when reading an email on their mobile device matter the most. I like to create a subject line and preview text that tie in with the topic, are interesting, add value and make people want to read more.
Readers swipe or delete based on these two character texts.
3. The first sentence should be SEO Optimized.
Search engines (like Google) have a system in place for which content gets placed higher up in the results. The first sentence is key, and abiding by SEO best practices is a must. I use the Yoast SEO plugin to help me achieve this.
4. Use the word “you” more than “I”—or risk sounding self-centred.
Your writing exists to introduce others to your work and how you think, but ultimately, you are solving their problems. Write for your clients, not for you.
5. Write to one person.
Scan your copy. Use the word “you” rather than “we” or “you guys”. People consume content as individuals, not as groups. Your writing will also improve if you think of the person you are writing for as a specific individual.When writing #blog and #newsletter content, always write to one person. People consume content as individuals, not as groups. Read the rest of the tips here: Click To Tweet
6. Don’t ramble, make your points clear.
When you write your first draft, write freely. But then, go back and clean it up. Reread and edit your own work. Read it out loud.
You may be using extra words or filler sentences (like this one here in parentheses) because you are not clear on what you are saying.
7. Utilize storytelling.
Storytelling engages people, and it makes your content memorable and personal.
While this seemingly counteracts tip #4, remember that the point of sharing a story is to connect to the reader, to show you understand their specific problem and you can solve it.
8. Cross-reference internal content.
Make links within the blog to supporting content that adds value. For example, when you write a blog in July, link back to a blog from May. And when you write something that adds value in September, remember to go back to July and link forward to September.
You want to keep your reader on your website and provide extra value. It’s a win-win.
9. Name your images properly.
All images need to correspond with blog and newsletter titles, especially from an SEO perspective. Additionally, add supporting alt text—remember, images are searchable too.
10. Close the loop.
Finally, wrap up your content at the end and tie it back to the beginning so you don’t leave an open loop for the reader.
For example, don’t start with a topic like sales management and end with the topic of team morale. If you are talking about team morale at the end, tie it back to how sales management and strong team morale get results. I like to do this with a lesson or takeaway.It’s important to wrap up your #blog content at the end and tie it back to the beginning. Never leave an open loop for the reader. Read the rest of the writing tips: Click To Tweet
Is there a specific tip you didn’t know about and will incorporate into your writing? Let me know which tip you found the most helpful!